Lacking Evidence, Novartis Probe of Greek Politicians in Limbo

March 25, 2018

ATHENS – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ push to probe 10 rival politicians on charges of allegedly taking up to 50 million euros ($61.79 million) in bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has been sidelined so far because of a lack of evidence.

The targets, including two former Prime Ministers, the Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, European Commission migration chief Dimitris Avramopoulos and former finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, have either sued to force the release of the identities of the three secret witnesses whose testimony the case is based on or accused Tsipras of manufacturing a fake scandal to get them.

A prosecutor who sent the case to the government-controlled Parliament, where a committee is looking into whether those charged should have their immunity stripped could see it sent back to find evidence to back up the claims and as some of the targets have refused to appear or testify.

The prosecutors so far haven’t been even able to prove or show that the accused had any knowledge of alleged bribe-taking in a case that is using the country’s whistleblower laws to keep secret the names of those who made the charges, and whose stories were said to keep changing, said Kathimerini.

Opposition lawmakers walked out of the committee essentially leaving it a panel of MPs from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and its junior partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) to operate on their own.


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